Thursday, January 15, 2009
14:14 Mecca time, 11:14 GMT
UK minister attacks 'war on terror'
Miliband has called for a rethink
on the "war on terror" [AFP]
David Miliband, the British foreign minister, has called for a rethink on the
strategy against terrorism, saying the "war on terror" may have caused "more
harm than good".
In an opinion piece in the British daily The Guardian on Thursday, Miliband
said the expression used by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks on
the US was "misleading and mistaken".
"The idea of a 'war on terror' gave the impression of a unified, transnational
enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The reality is
that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate.''
Miliband delivered a speech on the same topic in the Indian city of Mumbai on
He called for the closure of the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the
launch of new era of "democratic opportunity rather than fear and oppression".
"Democracies must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not
subordinating it,'' he said.
According to his article, a "fundamental look" is needed at how to prevent
extremism and "terrorist violence".
"Since 9/11, the notion of a 'war on terror' has defined the terrain. The
phrase had some merit: it captured the gravity of the threats, the need for
solidarity, and the need to respond urgently - where necessary, with force," he
"But ultimately, the notion is misleading and mistaken. The issue is not
whether we need to attack the use of terror at its roots, with all the tools
available. We must. The question is how."
Britain, under Tony Blair, the former prime minister, was America's closest
ally in "anti-terrorism" operations but the US-led invasion of Iraq to oust
Saddam Hussein caused a backlash against Blair in Britain.
Most of the remaining British troops in Iraq are set do be withdrawn this year
but Britain still has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan.
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